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Friends band together for one in need
0522Eller
Jim Eller stands with his wife, Virginia. Eller has Type I diabetes that has contributed to his recent double kidney failure, two heart attacks and 12 eye surgeries.

Through double kidney failure, two heart attacks and 12 eye surgeries - all due to Type I diabetes - Jim Eller's family and friends have become his biggest support.

In the past months these serious health ailments have plagued Eller, 39, and now his friends are doing something about it.

"They've (my friends) been my backbone, literally," Eller said. "I've always been the one to help other people instead of vice versa. It really has been the hardest thing of my life. I don't show much emotion but I am man enough to admit that I literally sit down and cry."

Peter "Patch" Ghent, longtime friend of Eller, organized the benefit concert to help Eller pay the medical bills and living expenses while he is unable to work.

"What I'm trying to do is keep my friend alive," Ghent said. "And everyone has just jumped on board with this."

Currently, Eller is using a walker and wheelchair to get around after a leg surgery, and heis on the kidney transplant list at Emory University Hospital.

"If I can get the kidney transplant, I'll still be diabetic but it'll be a total change," said Eller, who recently married Virginia Eller.

So when Ghent asked nine local bands and musicians to play for the cause, he said members were eager to get on board with the show. Like Ted Tuck, lead singer and guitarist for the King Daddy Polecats.

"Jim's a hard worker and a really good and compassionate guy and will go the extra mile for you," said Tuck, a friend of Eller. "He's always been very supportive of local artists and music and people that he's worked with.

"We hope to raise enough money to give him some relief for some of the debt ... I think it's just a great opportunity for people to see so many talented local musicians in one place."

Other bands include the Snipes, Speck, Grassfoot, Lauren Jordan, Stealing 3rd, Sgt. Kick Ass and hard rockers Dequelo.

The showcase will be catered by AJ's Food Fun & Friends and raffles will be held.

On Sunday morning, a benefit motorcycle ride will set off for a poker run at 11 a.m., organized by the North Georgia Wingmen. At each stop, people will draw a card to make the best poker hand.

The ride, which is $10 per hand, will begin registration at 10:30 a.m. and leave the Armadillo Palace at 11 a.m. with stops at the North Georgia Wingmen club house in Gainesville, Mule Skinners and back to the Armadillo Palace. All proceeds from the ride and concert will benefit Eller.

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